World Suicide Prevention Day 2022: Having thoughts about suicide, feeling hopeless, alone, and aimless can be overwhelming and while one may feel it's difficult to go on with life with nothing to look forward to at the moment, the truth is like every phase, this too shall pass, and your thoughts too would change with time. Remember to keep a friend on your quick dial, a family member posted about your condition and some positive affirmations that can pull you out of your depressive state and thoughts. Depression is the most common cause of having suicidal thoughts and if you are frequenting having thoughts of ending your life, one must immediately take help from an expert. (Also read: Why deaths by suicide are rising worldwide)
World Suicide Prevention Day is celebrated every year on September 10 and is organised by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO). The event represents a global commitment to focus attention on suicide prevention.
On this occasion, we asked experts tips to handle suicidal thoughts and feel better.
“Take one day at a time. Try to focus on just getting through today and not the rest of your life. You might feel less able to cope today but in next few days you are more able to cope in a few days. Watch out your triggers. Triggers are things which might make you feel worse. Triggers are different for different people. You may find that certain music, photos or films make you feel worse. Try to stay away from these. Don’t take the help of alcohol as alcohol affects the parts of your brain that controls judgement, concentration, behaviour and emotions. Drinking alcohol might make you more likely to act on suicidal thoughts," says Dr Jyoti Kapoor, Founder & Senior Psychiatrist, Manasthali.
“The feelings of pain and despair might not immediately improve, addressing suicidal thoughts can take time but the professional support definitely helps in ameliorating the pessimistic and negative thoughts which provoke an individual to take an extreme step of committing suicide," says Dr. RC Jiloha, Senior Consultant - Psychiatry, Paras Hospitals, Gurugram.
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WHAT TO DO WHEN SUICIDAL THOUGHTS OVERPOWER YOU; STEPS TO TAKE
Dr Jiloha suggests the following steps when one is under the grip of suicidal thoughts:
- One needs to share the difficulties with a trusted friend or relative who can patiently listen to the problems.
- One should reach out to near and dear ones who are willing to listen.
- Going to a safer place where there are people of one’s liking is also helpful. Getting to a safe location can make it easier to avoid acting on suicidal thoughts.
- Intoxicants should not be used to fight the depressing thoughts. After their effect is over one may feel more depressed and suicidal. Avoid alcohol and other substances. Drinking alcohol or using substances might seem helpful but you might find they actually worsen depression and suicidal thoughts.
- Going for a short walk, cuddling a pet, and 4-7-8 breathing are all examples of grounding techniques that can help you stay in the present during a moment of intense depression.
"Remember, suicidal thoughts occur because of low mood, thoughts of helplessness and pessimism which can be prevented with your efforts and you can lead a normal life," says Dr Jiloha.
CALL A HELPLINE, SEEK EXPERT HELP
"If an individual feels that he/she is experiencing thoughts at the level of thinking about death, a sense of hopelessness, or in any way contemplating any form of self-harm, the only goal that needs to be there with a sense of urgency is reaching out for help. Help would mean not the bottling up of emotions and talking to a friend/family member or a colleague, and immediately reaching out to a psychiatrist or a psychologist and initiating treatment. This is required because the most common factor which is co-related to suicides are mental ailments, especially depression and timely intervention needs to be done. If there is any delay, where the individual is not able to reach an expert immediately, he/she should call a helpline. It is important to reach out to any of the helplines as this may help you in that given moment. It needs to be followed up by reaching out to a mental health expert too. All of us need to play this role that when you talk about suicide, you do it with sensitivity and responsibility and ensure that help is available to people," says Dr Samir Parikh, Director, Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, Fortis Healthcare.
MEDITATION AND BREATHING EXERCICES
"As per our ancient texts, 'meditation and breathing exercises' are highly effective for people dealing with moderate to severe symptoms of anxiety, depression and insomnia. Try 20 minutes of guided meditation to regain your cognitive strength and bring back a sense of control within yourself. One can surely attempt 'selective awareness'. Choose to pay attention to things that help you express or make you feel alive. Paint, write, read, or simply rest, engage your mind with something that would bring you peace and joy," says Ishan Shivanand, Founder, Yoga of Immortals.
It is scientifically proven that meditation, breathwork, selective awareness and visualisation are powerful instruments to reset one's life.
"The practice of 'visualisation' is another impactful tool to support oneself. Envision your goals, your ideal self, or anything you truly wish to achieve - with pure intention and emotion. Affirm, and observe wonderful things begin to happen. Tell yourself - I am enough. I have enough. I am forgiven. I am accepted. I am loved unconditionally, adds the yoga expert.